Monday, January 04, 2010

The illogic of American intervention in Yemen (2/3)

Hassan Al-Haifi

In the wake of recent American concern about the rather dubious recent jump in the presence of Al-Qaida in Yemen, one cannot help but ask, what factors raise the contention within the Barack Obama Administration that Yemen is now indeed the new home base for AQ's "menacing" activities throughout the world? Most knowledgeable observers are inclined to suggest to President Obama that his understanding of the real situation in Yemen needs a lot of reinforcement. It is not a rare occasion to see a US Administration sometimes pursuing a policy that is reliant on questionable events and circumstances almost aimed at misdirecting that policy to make it conducive to interests that are not necessarily at par with US interests. In Yemen, there are a multitude of problems that would rank the AQ threat as actually being among the lowest in ranking amongst these problems. This comes notwithstanding the many apparently orchestrated events here in Yemen and elsewhere which prompted this recent US rush to show its tough muscles again with little hope for success.
Needless to say, AQ is a menacing evil that Yemen could do well without. Many Yemenis inside and outside the political spectrum and who have a broad view of the overall scenario that is looming over Yemen are looking for the plausible solution to this menace. However these Yemeni observers would have to suggest that the course of US policy for Yemen as being promulgated by the US media and as announced by Barack Obama himself raise more questions and dig more unwanted graves than would be welcome at this moment. Surely, this AQ threat is indeed a malleable irritant that seems to find its rightful niche whenever the covert masters of this highly suspicious phenomenon find it suitable to shift locale, tactic and victims.
However, before embarking on another highly costly military and security operation and bringing more sources of tragedy and pain for the overwhelming majority of Yemeni citizens, we suggest again that the United States Government make a careful assessment of what AQ is really all about and what allows it to continue its menacing and irritating presence in the world arena? This is not to say that an increasing American presence in Yemen is viewed with disfavor because of a "hatred" of Uncle Sam (does anybody still remember him?). On the contrary, increasing American attention for Yemen can be healthy and even welcome, if channeled properly and is based on the real mutual interests of both the American people and the Yemeni people. The vibes emanating from Washington these days continue to suggest that the US Government considers all the solutions to the problems of the world as resting on expensive and complicated military/security operations. Thus the inputs are fed into a computer and within a few minutes, hours or days the blue print is drawn out for the appropriate military and security steps to be taken and the initially modest needed funding to fuel the effort, that will soon increase manifold to accommodate for increased needs or changing tactics. This kind of strategic and tactical planning ignore the all important factor of the human cost, whether in US (and allied) personnel or the thousands and eventually millions of innocent civilians that are eventually killed wounded or rendered homeless, poor, destitute and perpetually hopeless. One is quite convinced that such monumental costs hardly result in accomplishing any advances against terrorism, in all its manifestations, especially the dubious AQ version. All one has to do is retract over the last decade and attempt to draw up a scorecard on the "War on Terror". If the Iraqi example can be used in this context, the inescapable conclusion that one can draw is that terrorism of the largely ineffective AQ, suicide bomber and the miscalled Jihadi genre entered Iraq with the US invasion of Iraq.
President Obama promised in his campaign for the Presidency that he would eventually get to the root of the "terrorist" mobs and uproot them once and for all. As such, they would not continue to pose a threat, etc. to American security, American interests (overseas) and to "western civilization", as some extreme right wingers in the US and other "western" countries would like to suggest. This promise was made on the pretext that the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan was obviously not the home of origin of AQ and other forms of so called Islamic fundamentalist dogma and the alleged terror that comes with it. Yet, the Taliban and their AQ allies did manage to wrench control of Afghanistan from a moderate Government, thanks mainly to substantial tactical, reconnaissance support mainly from the Pakistani intelligence service. PIS were (by the latter's' own admissions) were actually working under contract for Saudi Government agencies and Quasi Government "religious" agencies and institutions towards this purpose. It has always struck the observer with awe, how the very capable Pakistani intelligence organs (thanks to American training and logistical support during the Cold War), turned their eyes away from the strong growing seeds of a Taliban culture that were simultaneously also being planted in Pakistan as well.
Will the elimination of AQ in Yemen actually be realized as the Obama Administration hopes? If so, will it end the AQ and Jihadi terrorism that is now dealt with by Barack Obama by following a merry-go-round approach lead to any ultimate success of eliminating AQ and its irritating bogus threat to the US and to a considerably greater extent to the Moslem World? The ramifications of this new American intervention in Yemen will be the focus of next week's Common Sense.

Yemen Timea No. 1326 5 Jamuary 2010


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